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Holding Everything Down

William Notter

Publication Year: 2009

William Notter’s stunning collection Holding Everything Down explores the everyday struggles, triumphs, and desires of rural Americans. With disarming humor and remarkable honesty, Notter delves into the most personal longings of those who inhabit America’s countrysides: places bound by secrets and ghosts, where joy is discovered in the most unlikely of locations, and even the land itself has a story to tell. These highly accessible poems traverse the world of weekend rodeos, lonely highways, and windswept battlefields; they follow the twin paths of addiction and obsession, and the trials of newfound sobriety. Connections are forged beneath weathered ceilings, and love can be found over a plate of barbecue. Also explored are the depths of humanity’s relationship with nature and freedom, be it the smell of freshly threshed wheat, the purple thunderheads of an approaching storm, or a sunset viewed from Mississippi’s highest peak.

 

From the muddy deltas of the deep South to the crags of the Big Horn Mountains, Notter’s deeply candid portraits transcend stereotypes to expose an often unseen side of Americana. Hairdresser or handyman, rodeo rider or rancher’s wife, each voice ultimately echoes with the most human of experiences, unveiling the common threads that bind us to our world and to each other.

 

Published by: Southern Illinois University Press

Book Title

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Copyright

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Contents

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pp. vii-viii

Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

Part One

Rusty the Finisher

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p. 3-3

Wheat Harvest

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pp. 4-5

The Ranch Woman’s Secret

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p. 6-6

High Plains Farming

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pp. 7-8

Personnel Orientation

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p. 9-9

Accused

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p. 10-10

The Dead Guy from Nebraska By-Product

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pp. 11-12

The Dead Guy Clears the Air about Roadkill

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p. 13-13

How One Thing Led to Another for the Dead Guy

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pp. 14-15

The Dead Guy and the Evangelist

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pp. 16-17

Parchman Farm

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p. 18-18

Slow Progress on Chickasaw Ridge

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pp. 19-20

The Crossroads, Mississippi

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p. 21-21

Radio Man

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p. 22-22

The View from Woodall Mountain, Elevation 806

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p. 23-23

Morning Break, Barksdale Job

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pp. 24-26

Part Two

Morning News in the Big Horn Mountains

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p. 29-29

Haunting Porcupine Ranger Station

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pp. 30-31

White-Throated Swifts

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p. 32-32

Grandview Point

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pp. 33-34

Cottonwood

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p. 35-35

Waking in West Texas

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p. 36-36

Above Medicine Mountain

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p. 37-37

The Big Horn Range

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p. 38-38

Postcard

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p. 39-39

First Love

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p. 40-40

The Trailer House on Bethel Road

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p. 41-41

Spreading the Word

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p. 42-42

Heavy Metal Frontman

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p. 43-43

Burkett, Cleaning Up

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p. 44-44

Breakfast at the Road Runner Cafe

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pp. 45-46

Gray’s First Sober Year

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pp. 47-48

Part Three

Worship

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p. 51-51

Roadside Motel

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p. 52-52

Tammy at the Cut Above

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pp. 53-54

Greatest of These Is Fire

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p. 55-55

Half-Rack at the Rendezvous

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p. 56-56

Jubilate

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pp. 57-58

Passing through Clarksville

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p. 59-59

Demolition Derby

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pp. 60-61

California Pasture

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p. 62-62

At the Washita River Battle Site

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p. 63-63

Wyoming Highways

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p. 64-64

Bandera County after a Storm

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p. 65-65

Have You Seen Anna?

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pp. 66-67

Directions in the Nebraska Sandhills

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pp. 68-69

Route 66, Arizona, 1953

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pp. 70-72

Notes

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p. 73-73

Series Books

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Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9780809386604
Print-ISBN-13: 9780809329274

Page Count: 88
Publication Year: 2009